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Courses Course required textbooks

  1. Feb 8, 2013 #1
    Hey all, I will be going to university in September and i have a few quick questions.

    1) If you really don't like the required textbook should you just use a book you like or stick to the required text ?

    2) is it typical for a physics student to use multiple textbooks for a course?

    3) Can a course be judged by what textbook is used?(This is because i am trying to choose between two universities but i don't know if judging by the required text is even relevant)

    thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You could - you will need to have access to a required text though because the course will have references to it. That is usually why a particular text is "required". Usually you can get them second hand though.
    Depends on the course and on the student. It is certainly usual for a student who wants to do well to use more than a single reference source.
    To an extent, yes. Though a bad text may be compensated for by the lecturer, it is a lot harder to assess the lecturers before you start University.
  4. Feb 9, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Especially because the lecturer for a given course may change from year to year.
  5. Feb 9, 2013 #4
    In both the Calculus courses, and Physics, I have multiple books to study from.

    If anything, it gives another perspective on a topic to think on if one book in particular isn't getting through to me.
  6. Feb 9, 2013 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    I'd better add that the textbook can also change from year to year, because (in the US at least), the lecturer or professor teaching a course chooses the textbook.
  7. Feb 9, 2013 #6
    The only real answer to these questions is "it depends."

    1) Some courses follow the textbook very closely, others don't. Lower-level courses usually follow their books more than upper level courses. All of this depends on the teacher.

    2) You should always make an effort to look at other books. There are plenty of good free open textbooks now.

    3) How do you know if the textbook is or isn't good if you haven't taken the course? Going by amazon reviews is very hazardous. Particularly with first year courses, the comment section on amazon is often filled with people who were completely unprepared for the courses they took. Don't judge the book based on that.
  8. Feb 9, 2013 #7
    Thanks everyone for all the replies! they are all very helpful :)
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